The Miami Heat are looking to shake off the massive disappointment of not landing Damian Lillard via trade this summer and make another run at the NBA Finals this season.
They will do so with mostly the same roster that got them to the championship series last season, minus one familiar face — big man Udonis Haslem.
But although Haslem decided to retire after 20 seasons, he decided to show up to the team’s practice on Tuesday, per NBACentral.
Udonis Haslem joined the Heat at practice today 🔥
— NBACentral (@TheDunkCentral) October 17, 2023
Haslem was originally an undrafted free agent out of the University of Florida, and after spending a season in France, he quickly emerged into a key role player for the Heat.
He became a starter during the 2004-05 season, the same year Shaquille O’Neal came to town and Dwyane Wade became a superstar.
Haslem was an important part of the 2006 championship team, and although he was moved to the bench a few years later, he was still an indispensable part of their LeBron James-led teams that reached the Finals four years in a row and won it all in 2012 and 2013.
In recent years, he has barely played and mostly served as an unofficial assistant coach on the bench, but his voice still carried plenty of weight with his teammates.
If Miami is to go deep in the playoffs again, they will need to find a way to manufacture a lot more offense than they did last year when they finished last in points per game in the regular season.
The Milwaukee Bucks, with Lillard on board, and the Boston Celtics have greatly improved, which has lowered Miami’s odds of winning another world title.NEXT: Bam Adebayo Shares His Thoughts On Failed Damian Lillard Trade